Category Archives: Marketing

A SWOT Analysis of the Marketing Environment of Higher Education Institutions

This is an excerpt from a recent Working Paper.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Internationalization of Higher Education in a Competitive Marketing Environment. Working Paper 0506-2019, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Malta.


Strengths

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) raise their financial capital requirements by charging tuition fees to full time, part time and distance learning students; Government-funded HEIs may provide free or reduced tuition fees;
  • Many international courses are taught in English; The English language has become an important lever for international student mobility (ICEF, 2017);
  • Several HEIs provide work-integrated education; they deliver pragmatic, application-oriented programs. The students are may be expected to undertake industry placements as part of their studies. Therefore work-integrated education (WIE) may be a component of the HEIs’ curriculum.
  • Work-integrated education supports students to become all-round professionals with an appropriate level of operational experience. It equips students with a thorough understanding of the business and industry’s operations. WIE would usually take place in an organizational context that is relevant to the students’ future employment prospects. At the same time, the students would obtain communicative and transferable skills that will be valuable for their development. The focus is to help them acquire a range of valuable generic abilities, including people-skills through interactions with peers, subordinates and supervisors. After their working period, the students will be in a position to apply the theories that they have learnt in real-life settings. Hence, students develop their knowledge and skills in a professional environment, whilst increasing the chances of their employability prospects (Kolb & Kolb, 2005);
  • HEIs are increasingly establishing international collaboration agreements with other educational institutions, across borders. They enable student exchange programs and field trips. The classroom teaching is enriched with student exchanges and field trips that provide students relevant on-the-job training;
  • HEIs are building their alumni networks over the years. Many of their students have become business and industry professionals.
  • HEIs are often engaging with business and industry as they provide their consultancy and research services;
  • HEIs offer Executive Development Programs to industry practitioners, allowing them to update their skills, and to broaden their knowledge.

Weaknesses

  • Many HEIs are not managed as profitable organizations;
  • HEIs’ academic employees may become members in trade unions. The unions can use their bargaining power on the university’s administration;
  • HEIs can be slow to respond to the ongoing changes in the business and industry. They may need to adapt their curricula and courses to better meet the prospective employers’ requirements;
  • The HEIs’ academic members of staff may have long contact hours with their students (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ academia are not always publishing adequate and sufficient research (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ prospective students may be attracted to competitive institutions who are offering cheaper tuition fees. The international prospects will consider the HEIs’ locations and their living expenses;
  • The HEIs’ international marketing efforts may be focusing on limited catchment areas. They may be overlooking promising markets (Constantinides & Zinck Stagno, 2011).

Opportunities

  • HEIs may use educational technology to improve their students’ experience. Educational technologies could enhance the quality of online courses, particularly those that are offered to part-time, or distance learning students;
  • HEIs can utilize blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, wikis, electronic fora, webinars, et cetera to reach their target audiences. They may use social media and word of mouth marketing by communicating student testimonials, online reviews and ratings, in order to attract students from different markets;
  • HEIs could incentivize their educators and researchers to participate in academic conferences and to publish their work in highly-indexed journals;
  • The setting up of research (or special interest) groups could improve collaboration and teamwork among the HEIs’ members of staff;
  • HEIs’ academics should be encouraged to become members in editorial boards of leading journals;
  • HEIs can offer high-level consultancy and professional advisory services to private and public organizations;
  • HEIs may organize international conferences and fora that can be used as a platform for insightful exchange amongst academics, industry practitioners and tourism policy-makers;
  • HEIs can engage with alumni by involving them in social events, webinars and continuous professional development programs;
  • Industry professionals can be invited to speak to students on specific subject lectures. These experts may help students gain a deeper understanding of the industry;
  • HEIs’ academia should be encouraged to share their research expertise with business and industry to pioneer developments. They should promote their research outputs (Duque, 2014; Parameswaran & Glowacka, 1995). Relevant research can enhance industry performance and influence policy making;
  • HEIs can extend collaborative agreements in many areas, with reputable education institutions;
  • HEIs can obtain quality assurance and accreditations from international awarding bodies, for their educational programs. The recognition of their courses would necessitate a thorough assessment of their leadership, curriculum programs and skills, assessment methods, project work, student placements, student support, feedback and resources, et cetera;
  • The HEIs’ international admissions pages should evidence their ‘global perspective’ and could highlight their extensive range of services they offer to international students. For example, their course prospectus should be available in different languages;
  • There is an increased demand for higher education from mature students as the concept of life-long learning is being promoted in developing and advanced economies;
  • There are still untapped markets in Asia where students can’t access quality education at home. There is a business case to attract students from Africa as the continent’s youth population is rising (British Council, 2018);
  • The HEIs’ international students could be used as brand ambassadors and should be featured in their digital media;
  • HEIs may be supported by student scholarships (from governments, foundations or NGOs) and sponsorships that may be donated by industry partners.

Threats

  • Many HEIs’ national governments have already decreased (or cut) their public funding to HEIs (Estermann, 2017; Estermann, Nokkala & Steinel, 2011; Hoecht, 2006; Maton, 2005). Therefore, HEIs may have to raise their capital requirements through tuition fees and fund-raising activities;
  • There is a very competitive environment (in the global market). HEIs are increasingly targeting international students from many markets;
  • Many countries (including developing economies) have improved (or are improving) their educational systems. However, there may be students who decide to go abroad because they believe that there is neither capacity nor high-quality education at their home country (ICEF, 2017);
  • The ageing populations in many parts of the world, their greater life expectancies, coupled with lower fertility rates, means that populations in many countries are getting older. At the same time, the 15-to-24-year-old cohorts are shrinking. This key college-aged demographic will peak in Asia somewhere around 2020. Then it will start a gradual decline from that high point (British Council, 2018);
  • There may be political, socio-cultural and legal factors affecting the marketing of HEIs. International students may face travel restrictions. Rigorous travel formalities including the issuance of national visas and immigration policies, can affect the students choice of their prospective HEI;
  • Reduced scholarships and student exchange programs from foreign governments can have an impact on the number of students who may afford international mobility;
  • A growing number of Asian students are choosing to stay within their own region to study, and students from other countries – including African nations– are adding Asian destinations to their list of attractive options. Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, among others, are increasing their capacity to absorb international students. Students and families are placing more emphasis on value, and on the return on investment from overseas education. Therefore, students may opt to study close to their home;
  • There are growing indications that major employers are placing less emphasis on reputable HEIs and their brand identities (ICEF, 2017).

References (of the full paper)

Altbach,P.G. 2004.Globalisation and the university: Myths and realities in an unequal world. Tertiary Education and Management,10(1): 3-25.

Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. 2009. Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution. A Report for UNESCO World Conference of Higher Education. http://www.cep.edu.rs/public/Altbach,_Reisberg,_Rumbley_Tracking_an_Academic_Revolution,_UNESCO_2009.pdf accessed 20th February, 2018.

Beine, M., Noël, R., & Ragot, L. 2014. Determinants of the international mobility of students. Economics of Education review, 41: 40-54.

Bharadwaj, S. G., Varadarajan, P. R., & Fahy, J. 1993. Sustainable competitive advantage in service industries: a conceptual model and research propositions. The Journal of Marketing, 57(4): 83-99.

Binsardi, A., & Ekwulugo, F. 2003. International marketing of British education: research on the students’ perception and the UK market penetration. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 21(5): 318-327.

British Council. 2018. International student mobility to 2027: Local investment, global outcomes. https://ei.britishcouncil.org/educationintelligence/ei-feature-international-student-mobility-2027-local-investment-global-outcome (accessed 17th February, 2018).

Budde-Sung, A. E. 2011. The increasing internationalization of the international business classroom: Cultural and generational considerations. Business Horizons, 54(4): 365-373.

Camilleri, M. A., & Camilleri, A. C. (2017). Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 22(1), 65-82.

Constantinides, E., & Zinck Stagno, M. C. 2011. Potential of the social media as instruments of higher education marketing: a segmentation study. Journal of marketing for higher education, 21(1): 7-24.

Cronin Jr, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. 1992. Measuring service quality: a reexamination and extension. Journal of marketing, 56(3):55-68.

Doque, L. C. 2014. A framework for analysing higher education performance: students’ satisfaction, perceived learning outcomes, and dropout intentions. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence 25(1-2): 1-21.

Estermann, T. 2017. Why university autonomy matters more than ever. University World News, (454), http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170404132356742 (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Estermann, T., Nokkala, T., & Steinel, M. 2011. University autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard. Brussels: European University Association. http://agir-ups.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/University_Autonomy_in_Europe_II_-_The_Scorecard.sflb_.pdf (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

EUA 2017. EUA calls on governments to refrain from interference in university autonomy. http://www.eua.be/activities-services/news/newsitem/2017/04/03/eua-calls-on-governments-to-refrain-from-interference-in-university-autonomy (Accessed 26th February, 2018).

Friga, P.N., Bettis, R.A. & Sullivan, R.S. 2003. Changes. In graduate management education and new business school strategies for the 21st century. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2(3): 233—249

Helms, M. M., & Nixon, J. 2010. Exploring SWOT analysis–where are we now? A review of academic research from the last decade. Journal of strategy and management, 3(3): 215-251.

Hemsley-Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. 2006. Universities in a competitive global marketplace: A systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. International Journal of public sector management, 19(4): 316-338.

Hoecht, A. 2006. Quality assurance in UK higher education: Issues of trust, control, professional autonomy and accountability. Higher Education, 51(4): 541—563.

ICEF 2017. Mapping the trends that will shape international student mobility. http://monitor.icef.com/2017/07/mapping-trends-will-shape-international-student-mobility/ (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. 2005. Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of management learning & education, 4(2): 193-212.

Kotler, P., & Fox, K. F. 1995. Strategic marketing for educational institutions. New York, USA: Prentice Hall.

Lee, J. T. 2014. Education hubs and talent development: Policy- making and implementation challenges. Higher Education, 68(6): 807—823.

Marginson, S. 2006. Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher Education, 52(1): 1-39.

Maton, K. 2005. A question of autonomy: Bourdieu’s field approach and higher education policy. Journal of education policy, 20(6): 687-704.

Mazzarol, T. 1998. Critical success factors for international education marketing. International Journal of Educational Management, 12(4): 163-175.

Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G. N. 2002. “Push-pull” factors influencing international student destination choice. International Journal of Educational Management, 16(2): 82-90.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. 2011. Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA, USA: Cengage Learning.

Parameswaran, R., & Glowacka, A. E. 1995. University image: An information processing perspective. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 6(2): 41-56.

Pucciarelli, F., & Kaplan, A. 2016. Competition and strategy in higher education: Managing complexity and uncertainty. Business Horizons, 59(3): 311-320.

Russell, M. 2005. Marketing education: A review of service quality perceptions among international students. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(1): 65-77.

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Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Call for Chapters

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2019 (EXTENDED to the 30th September 2019)
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

 

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline:          30th June 2019 30th September 2019
Notification of Acceptance:               31st July 2019 31st October 2019

Full Chapters Due:                             31st December 2019

Notification of Review Results:         15th February 2020
Final Chapter Submission:                 31st March 2020

Final Acceptance Notification:          30th April, 2020

References

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222. https://link-springer-com.ejournals.um.edu.mt/article/10.1057/crr.2015.9

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319468488

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Theoretical Insights on Integrated Reporting: The Inclusion of Non-Financial Capitals in Corporate Disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal23(4), 567-581. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016

Cornelissen, J.P. (2008). Corporate Communication. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781405186407.wbiecc143.pub2

Fombrun, C.J. (1995). Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Business School Press.

Gardberg, N.A., & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate Citizenship: Creating Intangible Assets across Institutional Environments. Academy of Management Review31(2), 329-346. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMR.2006.20208684

Van Riel, C.B., & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of Corporate Communication: Implementing Practices for Effective Reputation Management. Oxford, UK: Routledge. http://repository.umpwr.ac.id:8080/bitstream/handle/123456789/511/Essentials%20of%20Corporate%20Communication.pdf?sequence=1

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The Customers’ Brand Identification with Luxury Hotels: A Social Identity Perspective

This is an excerpt from one of my latest papers.

How to Cite: Rather, R.A. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Customers’ Brand Identification with Luxury Hotels: A Social Identity Perspective. In Harrison, T. & Brennan, M. (Eds.) 2019 AMS World Marketing Congress. University of Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2019). Academy of Marketing Science (Download Now).

 

Relevant theoretical underpinnings on the social identity theory (SIT) suggests that the consumers’ self-expressions are somewhat associated with their relationships with firms and brands (Rather & Hollebeek, 2019; Fujita, Harrigan & Soutar, 2018; Elbedweihy, Jayawardhena, Elsharnouby & Elsharnouby, 2016; So, King & Sparkes, 2014; So, King, Sparks & Wang, 2013; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). For this reason, this paper relied on the SIT perspective to explore the consumer-brand relationships (Elbedweihy et al., 2016; Lam, Ahearne, Mullins, Hayati, & Schillewaert, 2013; Ahearne, Bhattacharya & Gruen 2005).

The individual consumers form part of a social group who regularly experience the delivery of services (Fujita et al., 2018; Huang, Cheng, & Chen, 2017; Elbedweihet al., 2016; So et al., 2013; Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). Hence, the service brands can be considered as the facilitators of the consumers’ social identity and expression as individuals can identify with brands if they perceive that they match their self-concept (Stokburger-Sauer, Ratneshwar, & Sen, 2012; Homburg, Wieseke & Hoyer, 2009). In a similar vein, the customer-brand identification (CBI) concept describes the relationships between the brands and their customers, as it explicates how the brands relate to the individuals’ self-concept (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2013). Many brands are increasingly looking after their existing customers by satisfying their various needs, wants and desires (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014). They do so to retain their existing customers. The loyal customers are usually willing to pay more, spend more and recommend more than new prospects (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; Harris & Goode, 2004).

The subject of brand loyalty has been explored extensively in the marketing literature. Past studies have often focused on the antecedents of loyalty, including;  customer satisfaction (Popp & Woratschek, 2017), trust (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; So et al., 2013), perceived service quality (So et al., 2013), commitment (Narteh, Agbemabiese, Kodua, & Braimah, 2013; Su, Swanson, Chinchanachokchai, Hsu, & Chen, 2016), customer engagement (Rather, Hollebeek & Islam, 2019; So et al., 2014), as well as perceived value (So et al., 2013), among other constructs. Notwithstanding, CBI has been investigated in different research contexts, and has often yielded contradictory results. For instance, Su et al. (2016) indicated that brand identification was not significant in predicting customer loyalty. While other studies suggested that the relationship between customer retention, word-of-mouth and loyalty were positive and significant (Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008); other research reported that there is a correlation between CBI and customer loyalty (Rather & Hollebeek, 2019; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2013; 2014). However, the literature did not devote sufficient attention to discover the antecedents of CBI, albeit a few exceptions (Su et al., 2016; So et al., 2013; Keh & Xie, 2009).

 

Research Question

Previous theoretical underpinnings and empirical studies have contributed to advancing our knowledge on brand loyalty and customer-brand relationships (Ahearne et al., 2005; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003; Fujita et al., 2018; He, Li, & Harris, 2012; So et al., 2013). However, there is still a gap in the extent literature that explores CBI by using the social identity perspective (Ahearne, et al., 2005; Choo, Park, & Petrick, 2011; Elbedweihy et al., 2016; He et al., 2012; Martinez and Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; Popp & Woratschek, 2017; So et al., 2013; Su et al., 2016). Hence, this paper addresses this lacuna in academic literature. The aim of this study is to provide further empirical evidence on the CBI construct (Keh & Xie, 2009; Su et al., 2016). To the best of our knowledge, few studies have combined the social identity theory with social exchange factors to explain the determinants of hotel brand loyalty. Many researchers maintain that by incorporating the social identity (Rindfleisch, Burroughs, & Wong, 2009; Homburg et al., 2009; Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and the service dynamics (Harris & Goode, 2004; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014) they would better understand the psychological processes that are linked to brand loyalty. Prior empirical studies in the hospitality context did not incorporate certain aspects of brand loyalty, including the mediating effects of commitment, satisfaction and trust. Hence, this research differentiates itself from other contributions; by building on the foundations of previous research on the social identity perspective of customer-brand loyalty. However, it considers the direct and indirect effects of social exchange variables from the marketing science literature, to explore the causal path from CBI to brand loyalty. In sum, this study addresses the following research questions: (i) How is CBI related to customer satisfaction? (ii) How is CBI related to trust? (iii) Is CBI different from customer commitment? (iv) Are CBI, customer satisfaction and commitment influencing brand loyalty?

 

References (featuring all the references that appeared in the full paper)

Ahearne, M., Bhattacharya, C. B., & Gruen, T. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of customer–company identification: expanding the role of relationship marketing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(3), 574-585.

Al-Wugayan, A., Pleshko, L., & Baqer, S. (2008). An investigation of the relationships among consumer satisfaction, loyalty, and market share in Kuwaiti loan services. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 13(2), 95-106.

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Bai, B., Law, R., & Wen, I. (2008). The impact of website quality on customer satisfaction and purchase intentions: Evidence from Chinese online visitors. International journal of hospitality management27(3), 391-402.

Bentler, P. M., & Bonnett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88(3), 588-606.

Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2003). Consumer company identification: a framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of Marketing, 67(2), 76-88.

Bowden, J. L. H. (2009). The process of customer engagement: A conceptual framework. Journal of marketing theory and practice17(1), 63-74.

Bowden, J. L., Dagger, T, S., & Elliott, G. (2013). Engaging customers for loyalty in the restaurant industry: the role of satisfaction, trust, and delight. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 16(1), 52-75.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Understanding customer needs and wants. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.) Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product (pp. 29-50). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The Marketing Environment of Tourist Destinations. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.) The Branding of Tourist Destinations: Theoretical and Empirical Insights. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Caruana, A. (2002). Service loyalty: The effects of service quality and the mediating role of customer satisfaction. European journal of marketing36(7/8), 811-828.

Chaudhuri, A., & Holbrook, M. (2001). The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: The role of brand loyalty. Journal of Marketing, 65(2), 81-93.

Choo, H., Park, S.Y., & Petrick, J. F. (2011). The influence of the resident’s identification with a tourism destination brand on their behavior. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 20(2), 198-216.

Elbedweihy, A., Jayawardhena, C., Elsharnouby, M. H., & Elsharnouby, T. H. (2016). Customer relationship building: The role of brand attractiveness and consumer-brand identification. Journal of Business Research, 69, 2901-2910

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50.

Fujita, M., Harrigan, P., & Soutar, G. N. (2018). Capturing and co-creating student experiences in social media: a social identity theory perspective. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice26(1-2), 55-71.

Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Babin, B. J., & Black, W. C. (2010). Multivariate data analysis: A global perspective (Vol. 7). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Han, H., & Hyun, S. S. (2013). Image congruence and relationship quality in predicting switching intention conspicuousness of product use as a moderator variable. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 37(3), 303-329.

Harris, L. C., & Goode, M. M. H. (2004). The four levels of loyalty and the pivotal role of trust: a study of online service dynamics. Journal of Retailing, 80(2), 139-158.

He, H., & Li, Y. (2011). CSR and service brand: the mediating effect of brand identification and moderating effect of service quality. Journal of Business Ethics, 100, 673-688.

He, H., Li, Y., & Harris, L. (2012). Social identity perspective on brand loyalty. Journal of Business Research, 65, 648-657.

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Homburg, C., Wieseke, J., & Hoyer, W. D. (2009). Social identity and the service-profit chain. Journal of Marketing, 73(2) 38-54.

Huang, C. C. (2017). The impacts of brand experiences on brand loyalty: mediators of brand love and trust. Management Decision55(5), 915-934.

Huang, M. H., Cheng, Z. H., & Chen, I. C. (2017). The importance of CSR in forming customer-company identification and long-term loyalty. Journal of Services Marketing31(1), 63-72.

Jani, D., & Han, H. (2011). Investigating the key factors affecting behavioral intentions: Evidence from a full-service restaurant setting. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 23(7), 1000-1018.

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Kuenzel, S., & Halliday, S.V. (2008). Investigating antecedents and consequences of brand identification. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 17, 293-304.

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Liat, C. B., Mansori, S., Chuan, G. C., & Imrie, B. C. (2017). Hotel service recovery and service quality: influences of corporate image and generational differences in the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Journal of Global Marketing, 30(1), 42-51.

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Data-Driven Marketing Technologies and Disruptive Innovations

The latest disruptive technologies are supporting  the  marketing mix elements as they can improve the businesses’ interactive engagement with prospective customers, and enhance their personalization of services. They  may also provide secure pricing options.

Many firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment. Technology is enabling data-driven companies to monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Savvy technology giants including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are capturing (and analyzing) the online and mobile activity of prospective customers. Their analytics captures the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Big data is enabling them to target and re-target individu­als and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via web-site activity, mobile,video, social media, e-commerce, among others). 

Mobile tracking technologies are being utilized by big technology conglomerates as they gather information on the consumer behaviours, including their shopping habits, lifestyle preferences , et cetera. Businesses have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level (Storey and Song, 2017). This way business could come up with personalised products and services, that are demanded by individual customers. From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities.

Many businesses are already benefiting of the programmatic advertising environment; where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory (Busch,2016; Stevens et al., 2016).  The challenge for tomorrow’s businesses is to recognize the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can help them analyse their marketing environment; that comprise their customers as well as their competitors.

The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios as they can anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and can explain why it happens. These technologies can monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.

Other innovations, including; blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy. This technology involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by different businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including; suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The block chain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for businesses.

The smart tourism technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyze and utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting tourism marketers in their decision making. Moreover,other technologies, including the programmatic advertising and block chain are helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance, whilst minimizing costs. Table 1 illustrates how smart tourism businesses are capturing, analysing and distributing data.

Table 1. Data-driven approaches for smart tourism

(Camilleri, 2018)

Emerging Trends and Future Research

Tomorrow’s tourism businesses will be serving customers from geographically-diverse regions. There will be more travellers from emerging markets and developing economies. The tourism service providers will have to cater to different demographics, including senior citizens and individuals with special needs; as the populations are getting older in many countries.

Therefore,  smart technologies can be used to anticipate the discerned consumers’ requirements. For instance, the use of programmatic advertising will probably increase the individuals’ intuitive shopping experiences and can tap into the individuals’ discretionary purchases.

It is very likely, that the third-party retailers will continue to form part of the distribution mix. However, many service providers will be using their direct channels to reach out to their targeted customers. 

The sales of products will continue to rely on mobile devices with increased consumer interactions through speech and voice recognition software. The service providers may possibly rely on artificial intelligence and other forms of cognitive learning capabilities, like machine learning and deep learning.

The businesses’ distributive systems could interface with virtual reality software to help online intermediaries to merchandise their products in captivating customer experiences. Many online prospects may use blockchain’s secure technology to purchase tourism products, in the foreseeable future.

This contribution calls for further empirical research that could explore smart tourism innovations for individuals and organisations, including; mobile social networking, mobile visualisation, personalization and behavioural modelling for mobile apps, programmatic advertising, blockchain, AI, and the internet of things, among other areas.

References

Busch, O. (2016), “The programmatic advertising principle”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 3-15). Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018) Data-Driven Marketing and Disruptive Technologies. Working Paper 08/2018, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta. 

Stevens, A., Rau, A., and McIntyre, M. (2016), “Integrated campaign planning in a programmatic world”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 193-210), Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 

Storey, V. C., and Song, I. Y. (2017), “Big data technologies and Management: What conceptual modeling can do?”, Data and Knowledge Engineering, Vol. 108, pp. 50-67.

 

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The Way Forward: Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

An Excerpt from: Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility: Creating Value for Business, Society and the Environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility 2(1) 59-74. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s41180-017-0016-5

In the past, CSR may have been more associated with corporate philanthropy, stewardship principles, contributions-in-kind toward social and environmental causes, environmental protection, employees’ engagement in community works, volunteerism and pro-bono service among other responsible initiatives. Very often, such altruistic CSR activities may have not resulted in financial performance to the business per se. On the contrary, certain discretionary
expenses in corporate philanthropy could have usurped the businesses’ slack resources (including financial assets, labour and time) without adding much value (in terms of corporate reputation and goodwill) to the businesses. Nevertheless, this research reported that the contemporary discourses on corporate social responsibility are opening new opportunities for the businesses themselves. The academic discourse about CSR is moving away from ‘nice-to
do’ to ‘doing-well-by-doing-good’ mantra. Evidently, the value-based approaches that were discussed in this paper could be considered as guiding principles that will lead tomorrow’s businesses to long term sustainability (in social and economic terms). Debatably, the profit motive (the business case or corporate sustainability concepts) could be linked with the corporate responsibility agenda. This way, the multinational corporations could be better prepared to address their societal and environmental deficits across the globe, whilst adding value to their business.

This review paper has built on the previous theoretical underpinnings of the corporate social responsibility agenda including Stakeholder Management, Corporate Citizenship and Creating Shared Value as it presents the latest Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility perspective. This value-based model reconciles strategic CSR and environmental management with a stakeholder approach to bring long term corporate sustainability, in terms of economic performance for the business, as well as corporate responsibility’s social outcomes. Recently, some international conferences including Humboldt University’s gatherings in 2014 and 2016 have also raised awareness on this proposition. The corporate sustainability and responsibility concept is linked to improvements to the companies’ internal processes including environmental management, human resource management, operations management and marketing (i.e. Corporate Sustainability). At the same time, it raises awareness on the
businesses’ responsible behaviours (i.e. Corporate Responsibility) toward stakeholders including the government, suppliers, customers and the community, among others. The fundamental motivation behind this approach is the view that creating connections between stakeholders in the value chain will open-up unseen opportunities for the competitive advantage of responsible businesses, as illustrated in Figure 1.

cs model

Multinational organizations are under increased pressures from stakeholders (particularly customers and consumer associations) to revisit their numerous processes in their value chain activities. Each stage of the company’s production process, from the supply chain to the transformation of resources could add value to their businesses’ operational costs as they produce end-products. However, the businesses are always expected to be responsible in their internal processes toward their employees or toward their suppliers’ labour force. Therefore, this corporate sustainability and responsibility perspective demands that businesses create economic and societal value by re-aligning their corporate objectives with stakeholder management and environmental responsibility. In sum, corporate sustainability and responsibility may only happen when companies demonstrate their genuine willingness to add corporate responsible dimensions and stakeholder engagement to their value propositions. This occurs when businesses opt for responsible managerial practices that are integral to their overall corporate strategy. These strategic behaviours create opportunities for them to improve the well-being of stakeholders as they reduce negative externalities on the environment. The negative externalities can be eliminated by developing integrated approaches that are driven by ethical and sustainability principles. Very often, multinational businesses are in a position to mitigate risk and to avoid inconveniences to third parties. For instance, major accidents including BP’s Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010, or the collapse of Primark’s Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, back in 2013, could have been prevented if the big businesses were responsible beforehand.

In conclusion, the corporate sustainability and responsibility construct is about embedding sustainability and responsibility by seeking out and connecting with the stakeholders’ varied interests. As firms reap profits and grow, there is a possibility that they generate virtuous circlesof positive multiplier effects (Camilleri, 2017). Therefore, corporate sustainability and responsibility can be considered as strategic in its intents and purposes. Indeed, the businesses are capable of being socially and environmentally responsible ‘citizens’ as they are doing well, economically. This theoretical paper has contributed to academic knowledge as it explained the foundations for corporate sustainability and responsibility. Although this concept is still evolving, the debate among academic commentators is slowly but surely raising awareness on responsible managerial practices and on the skills and competences that are needed to deliver strategic results that create value for businesses, society and the environment.

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Creating Synergistic Value for Business and Society

Synergistic value integrates insights from the stakeholder theory [1] the resource based view theory [2] and the shared value notion [3] [4].

The stakeholder theory [1] provides opportunities to align business practices with societal expectations and sustainable environmental needs. Businesses ought to reconcile disparate stakeholders’ wants and needs (e.g. employees, customers, investors, government, suppliers etc.). By forging alliances with internal and external stakeholders business can create synergistic value opportunities. This may lead to an improvement in mutual trust and understanding. As a result, there are also benefits for corporate reputation, brand image, customer loyalty and investor confidence. This societal engagement also responds to third party pressures, it lowers criticisms from the public and minimises regulatory problems by anticipating legal compliance.

The resource-based view theory [2] suggests that the organisations’ slack resources are a facilitator for quality and innovation. Therefore, discretionary expenditures in scarce resources for internal and external socially-responsible practices as well as investments for environmental sustainability will result in strategic CSR [3] outcomes including; effective human resources management, employee motivation, operational efficiencies and cost savings, greater productivity outcomes (which often translate in healthier financial results) [3]

The synergistic value notion suggests that there is scope for governments in their capacity as regulators to take a more proactive stance in promoting responsible behaviours. They can possibly raise awareness of social and sustainable practices through the dissemination of information; the provision of training programmes and continuous professional development for entrepreneurs [4]. They may assist businesses by fostering the right type of environment for responsible behaviours; through various incentives (e.g. grants, tax relief, sustainable reporting guidelines, frequent audits et cetera) [3].

This proposition implies that socially responsible and environmentally-sound behaviours will ultimately bring financial results – as organisational capabilities are positively linked to organisational performance. Synergistic value is based on the availability of slack resources, stakeholder engagement and regulatory intervention which transcend strategic CSR benefits for both business and society.

References

[1] Freeman, E.E. (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Directions Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(4), 409

[2] Orlitzky, M., Siegel, D. S. and Waldman, D. A. (2011). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability. Business & Society, 50(1), 6-27.

[3] Camilleri, M. A. (2012). Creating shared value through strategic CSR in tourism.. University of Edinburgh. https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/6564 accessed 10th July 2014.

[4] Porter, M.E., Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating Shared Value, Harvard Business Review, 17 pages. gen 01, 2011.

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RESEARCH: The Small Business Owner-Managers’ Attitudes toward Digital Media

An Excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Forthcoming).


small-businesses-social-media

This contribution sheds light on the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the pace of technological innovation, perceived use and ease of use of digital media; as they communicate and interact with interested stakeholders online. It also explored their stance on responsible entrepreneurship, specifically on commercial, ethical and social responsibilities, as well as on their willingness to support other responsible stakeholders.

This empirical study and its theoretical underpinnings contribute to an improved understanding as to why today’s SMEs are expected to communicate with stakeholders through digital media. At the same time, it raises awareness of responsible entrepreneurial initiatives that could be promoted through digital media, including; corporate websites, social media and blogs, among others.

Generally, the results reported that there were high mean scores and low standard deviations, particularly when the participants were expected to indicate their attitudes on their commercial and ethical responsibilities. The nature of the SMEs’ CSR activities is usually integrated into their company culture, often implicitly in habits and routines that are inspired by highly motivated owner-managers; rather than explicitly in job descriptions or formalized procedures (Jenkins, 2006). The factor analysis indicated that the SME owner-managers were increasingly perceiving the usefulness of digital media to engage with marketplace stakeholders, including; consumers, suppliers and other businesses, as they promoted their responsible entrepreneurship behaviors.

The communications on their businesses’ social responsibility and environmentally-sound practices also served them well to engage with other interested groups; including; human resources, shareholders and investors, among others. This finding mirrors Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) argumentation as these authors remarked that each business decision on economic, social, and environmental aspects must take into account all stakeholders. Notwithstanding, the businesses and their marketers need to possess relevant knowledge on their stakeholders, as this will impact on the effectiveness of their CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

The value of their communications lies in their ability to open-up lines of dialogue through stories and ideas that reflect their stakeholders’ interests (Fieseler and Fleck, 2013; Moreno and Capriotti, 2009). For these reasons, companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their CSR communications. Their online communication with stakeholders could foster positive behaviors or compel remedial actions, and will pay off in terms of corporate reputation, customer loyalty and market standing (Tantalo and Priem, 2016; Du et al, 2010).

This study suggests that the SME owner-managers were recognizing that they had to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. Yet there were a few participants, particularly the older ones, who were still apprehensive toward the use of digital media. Eventually, these respondents should realize that it is in their interest to forge relationships with key stakeholders (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Rauniar et al., 2014; Uhlaner et al., 2004). This research posits that the owner-managers or their members of staff should possess relevant digital skills and competences to communicate online with interested parties.

Likewise, Baumann Pauly et al., (2013) also recommended that the managers must be trained, and that their CSR activities must be evaluated. These findings are in line with other contributions (Spence and Perrini, 2011; Perrini et al., 2007) that have theoretically or anecdotally challenged the business case perspective for societal engagement (Penwar et al., 2017; Baden and Harwood 2013; Brammer et al. 2012).

The regression analysis has identified and analyzed the determinants which explain the rationale behind the SME owner-managers’ utilization of digital media for stakeholder engagement and for the promotion of responsible entrepreneurship. It reported that the respondents’ technology acceptance depended on their perceived “use” and “ease of use” of digital media; and on their willingness to communicate online on their commercial, ethical and social responsibilities.

The results from the regression analysis reported positive and significant relationships between the SMEs’ online stakeholder engagement and the pace of technological innovation; and between the SMEs’ online engagement and the owner-managers’ perceived usefulness of digital media. This study indicated that the pace of technological innovation, the owner-managers’ perceived ease of use of the digital media, as well as their commercial responsibility were significant antecedents for their businesses’ online communication of their responsible behaviors. Arguably, the use of technology is facilitated when individuals will perceive its usefulness and its ease of use (Davis, 1989).

In fact, the findings from this research have specified that the owner-managers’ intention was to use digital media to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship. They also indicated their desire to use this innovation to engage with stakeholders on other topics, including commercial and ethical issues. This is in stark contrast with Penwar et al.’s (2017) findings, as the authors contended that the SME owner-managers’ perceptions on social engagement did not hold the same virility when compared to the context of their larger counterparts. These authors argued that the tangible benefits of CSR engagement had no effect on SMEs. In a similar vein, Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) study reported that the larger businesses were more effective than SMEs in their CSR communications.

However, the findings from this study’s second, third and fourth regression
equations indicated that the small and micro businesses were using digital media to improve their stakeholder engagement and to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship issues.

Implications and Conclusions

SME managers and executives are in a position to enhance the effectiveness of their businesses’ communication efforts. This study has identified and analyzed the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the utilization of digital media for the communication of commercial, ethical and social responsibility issues.

Previous academic research has paid limited attention to the technology acceptance of digital media among small businesses, albeit a few exceptions (Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Baumann Pauly, Wickert, Spence and Scherer, 2013; Durkin et al., 2013; Taylor and Murphy, 2004). In this case, the research findings indicated that digital technologies and applications were perceived as useful by the SME owner-managers. This implies that the utilization of digital media can be viewed as a critical success factor that may lead to an improved engagement with stakeholders.

Several SMEs are already communicating about their responsible entrepreneurship through conventional and interactive media, including; social media, review sites, blogs, et cetera. These savvy businesses are leveraging their communications as they utilize digital media outlets (e.g., The Guardian Sustainability Blog, CSRwire, Triple Pundit and The CSR Blog in Forbes among others) to improve their reach, frequency and impact of their message.

In addition, there are instances where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses on digital media (Du et al., 2010). Whilst other stakeholders may perceive these businesses’ posturing behaviors and greenwashing (Camilleri, 2017; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

A thorough literature review suggested that the positive word-of-mouth publicity through digital media may lead to strategic and financial benefits (Camilleri, 2017; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Durkin et al., 2013). Therefore, businesses, including SMEs, are increasingly joining conversations in social media networks and online review sites. These sites are being used by millions of users every day. Indeed, there is potential for SMEs to engage with their prospects and web visitors in real-time.

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The Use of Smart Tourism Technologies

An excerpt from my latest Working Paper, entitled: The Use of Big Data, Programmatic Advertising and Blockchain Technologies in Tourism

The latest disruptive technologies are supporting the tourism businesses’ marketing mix elements as they improve the interactive engagement with individual prospects, enhance the personalisation of services, whilst providing secure pricing options. Many tourism firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment, as they monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Data-driven companies are increasingly capturing and analysing the online and mobile activity of prospective customers, as they delve into ecommerce and review sites, personal blogs and social media (Sigala, 2017; Kumar et al., 2017). Their analytics captures the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Therefore, big data is enabling them to target and re-target individuals and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via web-site activity, mobile, video, social media, ecommerce, among others). Large technology giants use mobile tracking technologies, to gather information on the consumer behaviours, including their shopping habits, lifestyle preferences , et cetera (Aksu et al., 2018).

Tech-savvy firms have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level (Storey & Song, 2017). This way business could come up with personalised products and services, that are demanded by individual customers (Li et al., 2017). From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities. This paper reported that many businesses are already benefiting of the programmatic advertising environment; where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory (Busch, 2016; Stevens et al., 2016).

The challenge for tourism businesses is to recognise the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can analyse their marketing environment, including the customers as well as their competitors. The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios; and the prescriptive analytics anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and explains why it happens. These technologies can monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.

Other innovations, including blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy, as it involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by tourism businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The block chain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for the tourism businesses.

The smart tourism technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyse and utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting tourism marketers in their decision making. Moreover, other technologies, including the programmatic advertising and blockchain’s distributed ledger system is helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance. In conclusion, this contribution calls for further research on data-driven tourism.

 

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Filed under Big Data, blockchain, Business, digital media, Marketing, tourism

The Corporations’ Non-Financial Disclosures

susty.png

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Jenkins Report may be considered as one of the major documents that has provided the foundations for non-financial disclosures. Notwithstanding, there were other guidelines that were developed by other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including; the Global Reporting Initiative, AccountAbility, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), the World Intellectual Capital Initiative (WICI), the Enhanced Business Reporting Consortium, the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the International Corporate Governance Network, the Sustainability Reporting Standards Board and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, among others. The International Standards Organization (ISO), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Greenpeace, Rainforest Alliance and Home Depot Certifiable, Fair Trade and the US Department of Agriculture’s USDA Organic Labelling, among others, have formulated uncertifiable, multi-stakeholder standards and instruments to support organizations in their CSR communication. In addition, certain listed corporations are adopting Fortune’s reputation index, the KLD Social index or RepTrak (Camilleri, 2017). Such measures require corporate executives to assess the extent to which their organization behaves responsibly towards the environment and the community. Despite the development of these guiding principles and indices, their appropriateness remains doubtful (Camilleri, 2015).

In 2010, the development of ISO 26000 had represented a significant milestone in integrating socially and environmentally responsible behaviors into management processes. ISO 26000 was developed through a participatory multi-stakeholder process as the International Labor Organization (ILO) had established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure that ISO’s social responsibility standard is consistent with its own labor standards. In fact, ISO 26000’s core subject on ‘Labor Practices’ is based on ILOs’ conventions on labor practices, including; Human Resources Development Convention, Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, Forced Labor Convention, Freedom of Association, Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Recommendation, among others. Moreover, ISO’s core subject on ‘human rights’ is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948). On the other hand, many academic commentators argue that ISO 26000 has never been considered as a management standard (Camilleri, 2017). The certification requirements have not been incorporated into ISO 26000’s development and reinforcement process, unlike other standards, including ISO 9000 and ISO 14001. Notwithstanding, ISO 14001 belongs to a larger set of ISO 14000 certifications that conform with the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

The European Union (EU) has developed its non-binding guidelines for the non-financial disclosures of large, public-interest entities that engage more than 500 employees (Stubbs and Higgins, 2015; EU, 2014). The European Parliament mandated Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting; that was subsequently ratified by the European member states. Therefore, large undertakings are expected to disclose material information on their ESG behaviors. These entities are required to explain any deviations from their directive’s recommendations in their annual declaration of conformity, as per the EU’s “Comply or Explain” principle (Camilleri, 2015; EU, 2014). Their non-financial disclosures include topics, such as; social dialogue with stakeholders, information and consultation rights, trade union rights, health and safety and gender equality, among other issues. Moreover, the organizations’ environmental reporting could cover; material disclosures on energy efficiencies, the monitoring of efficiency levels their energy generation capacities, assessments on the co-generation of heating facilities, the use of renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution prevention and control from the production and processing of metals, mineral industry, chemical industry, waste management, livestock farming, etc. (Camilleri, 2015). Therefore, large undertakings are expected to bear responsibility for the prevention and reduction of pollution. The EU recommends that the large organizations implement ILO’s Tri-partite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, as well as other conventions that promote the fair working conditions of employees. It also makes reference to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and mentions ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility (EU, 2014). Following, the EU’s mandate for non-financial reporting, it is expected that 6,000 European public interest entities will be publishing their sustainability reports in 2018, covering financial year 2017-2018 (GRI, 2017).

 


Additional Reading:

Camilleri, M.A (2015). Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 6 (2), 224 – 242. Emerald.  http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2014-0065 Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review, 18 (3), 210-222. Palgrave Macmillan DOI:10.1057/crr.2015.9 http://www.palgrave-journals.com/crr/journal/v18/n3/full/crr20159a.html Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes toward ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. (forthcoming). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2017.1413344 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14783363.2017.1413344 Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management: An Introduction to Theory and Practice with Case Studies. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany. ISBN 978-3-319-46849-5 http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319468488

CSRWire (2015). Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting in Europe. http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/1574-environmental-social-and-governance-disclosures-in-europe

 

 

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Filed under Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, ESG Reporting, Integrated Reporting, Marketing, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

Announcing Emerald’s latest academic textbook, “The Branding of Tourist Destinations”

This authoritative book was edited by Mark Anthony Camilleri. It provides students and practitioners with a good understanding of different tourism products, marketing strategies and tactics on destination branding, as well as useful insights on sustainable and responsible tourism practices, among other topics. The readers are equipped with a strong pedagogical base on the attractiveness of tourist destinations as this publication presents contemporary conceptual discussions and empirical studies on several aspects of destination branding.

 

Tourism marketers, including destination management organizations (DMOs) are formulating strategies and tactics to attract prospective visitors. Hence, this book also sheds light on the latest industry developments in travel, tourism, hospitality and events in different contexts around the world.

Chapter 1 introduces the readers to different aspects of the travel, tourism, hospitality and leisure industries, including; the visitors’ accessibility, accommodation, attractions, activities and amenities. The author explains how tourist destinations are capable of customizing their products to customer segments and individuals, by offering; adventure tourism, business tourism (including meetings, incentives, conferences and events), culinary tourism, cultural (or heritage) tourism, eco-tourism (or sustainable tourism), educational tourism, health (or medical tourism), religious tourism, rural tourism, seaside tourism, sports tourism, urban (or city) tourism, wine tourism, among other niche areas.

Chapter 2 provides an explanation of destination marketing, place branding and their related notions. The authors critically review the conceptual developments on the branding of tourist destinations.

Chapter 3 suggests that destination management organisations ought to engage in fruitful relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The authors maintain that there are several factors that can affect the strategic management of these organisations.

Chapter 4 explores how Sweden is branding its destinations by improving its cultural identify and by providing multi-sensory experiences to its visitors.

Chapter 5 sheds light on the agritourism businesses in Italy’s Campania region. The author analyses the main critical success factors for a thriving rural tourism market.

Chapter 6 explains the key elements of cultural tourism, including the destination’s heritage, lifestyle, and “Made in Italy”. The authors put forward a tourism development model. They suggest that it represents a functional framework for the benefit of tourism practitioners.

Chapter 7 explores the consumer-based brand equity of events. The authors explain how the organization of events, including music festivals could add value to the destinations’ image. They imply that the visitors’ positive experiences and their word-of-mouth publicity can contribute to the destinations’ branding.

Chapter 8 explores the destination branding of Porto in Portugal. The authors analyze the visitors’ attitudes on Porto’s largest wine festival. They assess their visitors’ level of satisfaction with the event and their intention to return.

Chapter 9 identifies the key elements that serve as drivers for the development of oleotourism in Jaen, Spain. The authors suggest that there is scope in stakeholder engagement amongst the main actors and drivers in the sector.

Chapter 10 investigates the environmental behaviour of three-, four- and five-star hotels in Azuay, Ecuador. The authors explored the relationship between environmental responsibility and stakeholder engagement. Their findings suggest that the hotel managers strive in their endeavours to implement responsible environmental practices to avoid regulatory pressures.

Chapter 11 examines the relationship between the destinations’ image and brand equity. The author contends that the tourists’ hedonic and monetary values can have a moderating effect on the country-of-origin’s image and brand extension.

Chapter 12 investigates the relationship between the customers’ satisfaction, commitment, trust and loyalty toward hospitality brands. It develops and empirically test the social identity construct (customer brand identification and other critical social exchange constructs (satisfaction, trust, commitment).

This publication was written by academics for other scholars, researchers, advanced under-graduate and post-graduate students. However, it is also relevant to the industry practitioners, including consultants, senior executives and managers who work for destination management organizations, tourism offices, hotels, inbound / outbound tour operators and travel agents, among others. The book explains all the theory and the empirical studies in a simple and straightforward manner. It describes the various marketing environments that comprise a wide array of economic, socio-cultural and environmental realities.

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Filed under Business, destination marketing, digital media, Hospitality, Marketing, tourism, Travel